How to Get Ready for a Research Project

A research project is an interesting part of college study, but such a new experience may frighten some students. You will surely succeed in your project if you start early. Many students fail to complete this complex task because they start late and are uncertain as to how to start their project. The following tips are general advice on how to do a research project and are designed to give you more confidence in completing it.

Research the Topic

Professors usually give a list of recommended literature that you can read before class begins. This literature can help you find some ideas for a project topic. Also pay attention to the professor’s requirements about using certain types of sources. Instructors often ask their students not to use Internet sources as they can be unreliable. Instead, students are expected to use peer-reviewed sources found in the school’s online database. However, this does not mean that you should read only articles from academic journals or books. Use the Internet to understand your topic from a different point of view or to get a general understanding of your topic and possible questions regarding your topic. It will be practically impossible to develop a research project without some preliminary knowledge about the subject. If you have been assigned the topic for your project, then conduct some basic research to understand it.

Visit the Library

Some needed sources may be accessible only at the college library, but do not be too concerned. The librarians will eagerly help you to locate certain kinds of information. Look through any information that will be useful in your project like periodicals, microfiche, historical, film collections, etc. You do not need to search for these kinds of sources by yourself; just ask a librarian for assistance.

Find an Example

To find more ideas for a project, peruse articles in a similar field for your research. For example, if your topic is about the international relationship between specific countries, find an article about the international relationships between other countries. Read the article to see how it is structured. Pay attention to the style, language, and format used. Look through the list of sources used to help direct you to your own sources.

Communicate with the Instructor

If you feel uncertain or become frustrated in the process of creating your college research project, do not hesitate to ask your instructor for help. During the conference, clarify all points of concern and make sure you understand the expectations of your instructor about the assignment format, length, and kinds of sources that can be used.